Every Friday The Foundry Home Goods contributes 5% of our total sales to a different community-nominated small-and-mighty cause. This Friday's Foundry Giving Friday recipient? Sylvanaqua Farms Mutual Aid!
Sylvanaqua Farms is a farm in Virginia. It grows food. It sells food. It makes food. It necessarily participates in (what in its best light is flawed and ineffective and in its worst purposefully barriered and racially weaponized) American wealth, land, and food distribution systems. Sylvanaqua Farms is also engaging in deceptively simple yet revolutionary-feeling methods for reimagining these systems to actually deliver democratized access to good food: dedicating at least half their harvests to ending food apartheid in the areas they serve. Mutual Aid isn't new, but this kind kind of is. Led by founder, farmer, father, perspective-exploding thinker, and indigenous and Black human person Chris Newman (this is a nice gateway article to his beautiful and incendiary mind), Sylvanaqua envisions and executes an alternative food reality:
We're lucky. Our farm produces a mountain of food and there's a healthy market for it. But what if...
We could provide that food for free to people systematically excluded from and left behind by the farm to table movement?
What if it was free because our national and international audience banded together to fund the production of that food at just the cost of growing and distributing it?
What if that low pricing was possible because free food bears almost no marketing cost, and there are dozens of organizations in our region already set up and funded to get the food that final mile to people's doorsteps?
What if all of the above, instead of just being a way for our farm to reduce waste and deal with surplus, was actually a driver of our business, allowing us to steward more land, grow more food, and feed more people?
What if... one day... this model grew enough to fundamentally de-commodify food for everyone?
The possibilities inherent in this model are compelling beyond measure. Any interested farmers/humans/persons invested in, say, doing something like this in MPLS/cultivating communities centered around maintaining their own food sovereignty should perhaps check out Skywoman, a collaborative space stewarded by Sylvanaqua and designed for farmers/people interested in food, justice, and food justice to share resources and build these sorts of things together.
If you don't need anything from us, please consider investing directly in Sylvanaqua Mutual Aid Shares here (they are looking to meet their March goal). If you do find yourself in need of fresh beeswax or supplies for mapping out your own production garden dreams, know that your purchase goes to support good change happening on the community level.
Thanks to Susannah for the nomination!
If YOU have a worthy cause to nominate for our Foundry Giving Friday initiative, pop on over to our Nomination Page and drop us a line. We're all in this together.